Magnet School Applications

We’ve all just packed away our ornaments and holiday decorations and yet we have another monumental task to face; 2009-2010 school enrollment forms. How can it be that the deadline is already here? Parents with children currently in magnet programs with CMS or wishing to enroll their children in a magnet program must quickly apply for a coveted spot for the upcoming school year.

The first magnet lottery for the 2009-2010 school years will run from Jan. 9 through Feb. 9, 2009. Families may learn more about the district’s magnet programs during a magnet fair at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology on Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The second magnet lottery and open-seat lottery will begin March 16.

For parents with children who are new to CMS or are rising kindergartners, their deadline for a magnet spot has already passed. However, a second lottery will be held in April. Student Placement Specialist Melanie Deschamps with CMS says to check the CMS website for information on the second lottery. “We encourage parents to check the website often, especially in March,” says Deshcamps.

Families may download and print instructions and forms from the CMS Web site and bring the documents to the Family Application Center, 700 Marsh Road. Families who plan to send their child to their assigned home school are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible. The past deadline also applied to students who are currently enrolled in other schools and plan to enter CMS in the 2009-2010 school year.

“The student-assignment lottery process is all done online,” said Scott McCully, executive director of student placement. “Families who are enrolled by the Dec. 23 deadline will receive a personalized magnet-lottery instruction sheet in the mail during the first week of January.” However, for some families with little or no access to a computer, the process is often confusing and unclear.

Local parent Tammy Hubbard-Williams thinks the school board makes assumptions with this system. Though she does have access to a computer at her job, she knows of many parents and students who do not. Hubbard-Williams has a 6th grader currently enrolled in a Paideia magnet program, at the school of her choice. But in the recent budget cuts, her daughter’s school lost its Paideia magnet programming. Now Hubbard-Williams will have to re-apply for a spot in the school’s IB program if she wants her daughter to remain there. And, there’s no guarantee of a spot. “It’s disheartening for a child to work so hard fitting in at a school and then possibly have to do it all over again at a different school,” says the working mom.

Transportation costs and concerns play a large role in school assignments and Hubbard-Williams feels students from far-reaching districts should not take up much wanted spots in magnet schools. Her daughter’s school has students who are bused in from several miles away and Hubbard-Williams feels they should be placed in schools closer to home. “Some people are willing to be dishonest to put their kids in a good school,” she says.

The busy mother has two children in the CMS system and another away at college. She hopes her 6th grader will pull off the grades to qualify for the IB program and be lucky enough to win a spot. “It shouldn’t be this difficult to find a decent school for your kids,” she adds. For now, her daughter continues to excel and enjoy her school. For Hubbard-Williams, the process has just begun. Again.
For more information about the student-assignment lottery and to download instructions and forms call the Family Application Center at 980-343-5335.

New students may begin enrolling for the 2009-2010 school year:
October 6, 2008
Last day for new students to enroll and be eligible for the First Magnet Lottery:
December 23, 2008
Student identification and pin numbers begin arriving in homes:
First week of January, 2009
Application period for the First Magnet Lottery:
January 9, 2009 – February 9, 2009 at 10:00pm
Magnet Fair at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology:
January 10, 2009
Notification letters for First Magnet Lottery arrive in homes:
First week of March, 2009
New student enrollment period for Second Magnet Lottery:
January 5, 2009 – May 15, 2009
Student identification and pin numbers for Second Magnet lottery begin arriving in homes:
First week of March, 2009
Application period for Second Magnet Lottery & Open Seat Option Lottery:
March 16, 2009 – May 22, 2009 at 10:00pm
Notification letters for Second Magnet Lottery & Open Seat Option Lottery arrive in homes:
First week of June, 2009

For other public and private school board information visit the Charlotte Parent Directories online:

Meaghan Clark is web editor for Charlotte Parentmagazine.